Evgenia Ginzburg was born to Russian-Jewish parents and educated at Kazan State University. She married three times, firstly to Dmitriy Fedorov, a doctor; secondly around 1930 to Pavel Aksyonov, the mayor of Kazan; and thirdly to Anton Walter, a German-Russian doctor. She was appointed professor of history at Kazan State University in 1934 and was a Communist Party activist. Ginzburg was caught up in the Stalinist purges and was sent labor camps in Siberia, where she sufferred for eighteen years (1937–1955) before being released and allowed to return to Moscow. She's best known for her two-volume autobiography and memoir of the camps, Journey Into the Whirlwind (1967) and Within the Whirlwind (1981).